This article is an opinion.

Like most people, I’m guilty of having road rage from time to time. I know there’s no excuse for acting crazy, but I come by it honestly.

If you’ve been reading today’s edition of The Reporter, you’ve read a lot about U.S. Highway 431. As you might’ve guessed, I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Highway to Hell,” or whatever ridiculous name it’s called. Just like everyone who grew up here, I’ve been hearing about it my entire life.

Everyone says things like, “No one on 431 can drive!” or “Does anyone know how to use a median around here?”

No one ever thinks they’re the bad driver, but as for me, I’m not going to say I’m a good driver. But, if you drive like you’re insane, cut me off, pull out in front of me or ride my bumper, you should expect to get a dramatic reaction out of me.

Which reminds me of when Dad decided it was time for me to learn how to drive a straight-shift. I was 16 years old, and I had no idea what I was doing. I would love to say it went well, and that I made it all the way to 431. But, that wouldn’t be the truth.

Like most parents, Dad had a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting. He just wanted me to do things well, try my best and be a good person. Well, I’m still trying to make him proud.

We hopped in the car and left Granny’s house on Nixon Chapel Road. I was doing pretty well until I saw the stop sign where the road intersects with Section Line Road, and if you’ve ever been there, you’d understand. That stop sign is on the top of an incline, and I had never used a clutch. So, needless to say, the car died — then I had to crank it again.

Being a new driver is tough enough, and cranking a manual vehicle is terrible. But, keeping a straight-shift running while on a hill has to be the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do.

After the car died a fifth time, a big man in a van pulled up behind us at the intersection. By this time Dad had lost his cool, and I was in a state of utter panic. Dad was flipping out trying to tell me what to do, but I was just not made to drive a stick. The big guy in the van was honking and hollering. Finally, I just gave up. Dad said a few choice words for the van guy, then drove us home.

To this day, I can’t drive a straight-shift. Also, if I get in a stressful driving situation, I tend to share Dad’s choice words. Sometimes, if I’m pushed to it, I’ll even tell another driver they’re “No. 1” in a not so lady-like fashion.

I’m not proud of it. I hope that you all will pray for me and ask God to give me more patience. Just remember, no one’s perfect, and He’s still working on me!

Nickie Simpson is a staff writer for The Reporter. She can be reached at nickie.simpson@sandmountainreporter.com.

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